Squash, pasta and ricotta dinner

Hi All –

I wanted to pass along a great recipe that I received from Jane the other week. She wanted me to try it on the night I was looking for ideas on what to have for dinner. If I had more time that night I definitely would have. She made it recently and was sweet enough to bring in a bit for me to try. Jane and I had a conversation before she made the meal, and we decided that the dish could use a little more protein, so she added chicken breast which I think was a perfect addition.

My little sample:


Here is the recipe thanks to Jane and her sister Lauren:

2 spray(s) cooking spray
20 oz butternut squash, fresh, peeled and cubed
1/8 tsp table salt, for cooking pasta
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, penne
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 Tbsp white all-purpose flour
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 Tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped, divided
1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended
1/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Coat a
2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Place squash on prepared baking sheet; roast until tender, about 20 to
30 minutes. Place in a large bowl and mash.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. After squash
has been roasting for about 10 minutes, cook pasta according to
package directions; drain and return to pot.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, garlic, salt and
pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently;
reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about
2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mashed squash and 2 1/2 teaspoons
of thyme. Add sauce to pasta; toss to mix and coat.

Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish; dot with spoonfuls of
ricotta and then sprinkle with Parmesan and walnuts. Bake until top is
lightly browned in a few spots, about 15 to 20 minutes; remove from
oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Yields about 1
cup per serving.


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